Skip to content

Lies Employers Tell

June 19, 2011

Anyone who has had to look for a job quickly discovers there’s a whole world of lies and manipulations out in workland.

From “jobs” that turn out to be unpaid internships, to “full-time work” that consists of a few random hours once or twice a week, and scams from resume-collecting employment agencies — it can be a shock to the uninitiated.

In the interest of fairness, and in direct defiance of all things “Human Resources Professionals” hold sacred, here are a few of the outright lies employers tell, in job ads, during interviews, and after you’re hired.

“We only hire the best”
It would be nice it this were true. The fact is, too many managers look for one magical quality in their ideal candidate — someone less competent than themselves. The less capable the manager, the more important this is.

“Our compensation package is fair/industry-standard”
Employers may not know what the going rate is, or even what the legal wage is, for the simple reason that they don’t care.

“We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions”
Don’t fall for this. Your supervisor in particular wants you to sit there and shut up. Never volunteer anything. Never suggest change.

“We promote work/life balance”
As long as work is your life, they consider you balanced. Whine that you haven’t seen your kids except in your desktop photo, and you’ll get the axe.

“Our workplace culture is relaxed and hip”
If you see this in a job ad, it means they have a snack machine and a foozeball game in the lunchroom, and you don’t have to wear a tie/nylons in the summer. They believe this makes it easier for you to work 12-hour days.

“Hard work and superior performance will earn you a bonus”
You will NEVER meet the quota, volume, workload or whatever criteria they set. The bonus, if there ever was one, is in your manager’s pocket.

“We always promote from within”
Yeah, there may be someone, somewhere in the company who managed to climb up a rung or two. All others are slotted into a preconceived role, from which there is no long-term escape.

“We provide full training and support”
You will be handed an employee manual and a long list of things you cannot do. There, you’re fully trained.

Your comfort, health and safety are important to us
Companies would still send 10-year-olds into coal mines, if they thought they could get away with it. Get involved and know your workplace rights — past generations put their lives at risk to making going to work safer for you.


Related posts:
Signs Your Company is Going Under

Worst Ways to Start a Conversation

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:02 am

    I have heard almost all of those lies and a few others as well. The most common lie I was told was that I would be starting at a lower than expected wage and then get a raise after 3, 6 or 12 months. I got the promised raise exactly once in more than 40 years of work.

    I had the privilege of working for three companies that didn’t lie to me. All were very successful and expanded to become international corporations.

    My experience has taught me what it takes to have a successful company. Hire good people, give them the tools to do their job, and let them do it. It never ceases to amaze me how many places screw that up.

  2. brad permalink
    April 24, 2011 9:38 pm

    Coal mines are hiring?!

  3. April 24, 2011 5:59 pm

    Bitter much?

    All too sadly true…

    I like the ones whose ads say “sense of humor valued” — which means “the boss is an utter monster”, as I’ve seen in a few job interviews. I’m from Toronto originally, and have lived (and worked) in NY since 1989, where too many jobs are filled with insanity, like the boss at one trade magazine who considered it normal behavior — as did HR (an exhausted woman in a tiny office) — to shout and swear at everyone at the top of her lungs.

    You might enjoy my new book (which I’ll be reading from at U of T in late May), all about my fun/fab two years working retail, an industry that proclaims “people are our greatest assets.”


    • April 26, 2011 11:34 am

      Hey, thanks for dropping by. Good luck with your reading at your alma mater.

      People certainly are the greatest asset for employers — the greatest depreciating asset. Like all the other assets, workers are used up, worn out, written off and thrown on the heap. That’s just business. In this Capitalist world there is an “invisible hand,” alright. A hand in the shape of a fist.

      I’m not bitter much. I’ve just spent too much time at Craig’s List.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: